LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday hinted at ordering re-election for the slot of the Punjab chief minister on separate petitions filed by the PTI and PML-Q — challenging Hamza Shahbaz's election as CM.
At the outset of today’s hearing, a five-member larger bench of the LHC remarked, “Now we are considering to go for re-election.” The LHC larger bench headed by Chief Justice Ameer Bhatti, resumed hearing of the petitions.
During the course of the proceedings, the LHC bench said it wants to wrap up the case today. Hearing the arguments of PTI's counsel, the court asked how a political crisis would be avoided if matters are taken back to the Punjab Assembly session on April 16 and polls are held again.
"In this case, the same presiding officer will hold the polls who was on duty during the April 16 polling," the court said.
Meanwhile, PTI's counsel apprised the court that the party has also challenged the election held under Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari's supervision.
Later, the court adjourned the hearing till 10am tomorrow, directing the counsels of PTI and the provincial government to assist the court when the hearing resumes.
PTI's MPAs, including Sibtain Khan, maintained in the plea that the police forced the PTI and PML-Q out of the Punjab Assembly to prevent them from exercising their right to vote at the behest of Hamza, followed by riots and chaos, after which Hamza was declared the Punjab CM.
They also questioned the presence of cops inside the provincial assembly.
They said the secretary of the assembly had prevented the entry of non-members, but alleged that the deputy secretary had called 300 non-members inside.
The petitioners alleged that bogus voting had been done in the election, indicating that PTI MPA Ahsan Saleem Baryar did not cast his vote but his name was on the voters' list. They requested that the election of Hamza Shahbaz as the Punjab chief minister be declared null and void.
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who was also a candidate for the CM's slot, in his plea challenging Hamza's election, maintained that Hamza does not have the number of votes required to be elected as the chief minister in light of the Supreme Court's order.
The plea requests the court to restrict Hamza from working as the Punjab chief minister till a final decision in this case. It also seeks the cancellation of Hamza's oath as the CM and orders for a new election for the CM slot.
Hamza was elected Punjab’s chief minister in a ruckus-marred session of the Punjab Assembly on April 16, 2022.
Ahead of the vote, three PTI members of the Punjab Assembly were arrested for attacking Deputy Speaker Dost Mohammad Mazari as the party boycotted the session to elect the new chief minister.
Hamza was elected as the new chief minister with 197 votes. While his opponent, Elahi did not receive any votes as his party and PTI had boycotted the polls.
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